Position Title: Frontier Development Lab Program Manager

FLSA Status:        Full-Time, Exempt



The SETI Institute is seeking an accomplished, enthusiastic, and collaborative candidate to manage and oversee its Frontier Development Lab (FDL) program.  FDL is a public-private partnership between NASA, DOE and the SETI Institute, together with private industry and academia that explores the efficacy of applied artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to basic research challenges in space and Earth science.

The purpose of the year-round program is to apply AI/ML tools and techniques to push the frontiers of research, to develop new approaches, and help solve some of the biggest challenges faced by humanity.  The program culminates in an 8 to 9-week summer sprint, where early career PhDs and Postdocs with machine learning expertise are paired with science researchers and guided by experts and faculty, to address tightly defined science challenges. The 2021 and 2020 sprints were conducted virtually due to the COVID pandemic, but the sprint phase is generally hosted at the SETI Institute, and NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA.  This is a great opportunity for the right candidate to utilize skills and experience to manage this exciting and rewarding research program.  The ideal candidate will demonstrate a passion for working with research professionals, scientists, and others involved in the program, and supporting initiatives geared towards building new partnerships and collaborations. 


Primary Responsibilities of the Program Manager:

•             Lead the summer sprint in collaboration with the FDL Program Director.

•             Work with stakeholder organizations to select and refine research challenge topics.

•             Identify, recruit, and retain faculty mentors and subject matter experts to support research teams.

•             Conduct Business-development to build new partnerships and bring additional resources.

•             Manage partner relationships.

•             Help research teams navigate the path to successful outcomes.


Specific Responsibilities (summer sprint):

•             Work closely with the FDL Program Director to coordinate program schedule and oversee program logistics with Institute administrative staff.

•             Schedule talks with subject matter experts, SETI Live events, social media, outreach, and communications.

•             Assist with planning and running the spring-phase ‘Boot Camp’ session for participants.

•             Organize daily activities based on program goals and objectives.

•             Coordinate weekly Mentor meetings.

•             Handle real-time issues and facilitate positive team dynamics.

•             Monitor teams’ progress and ensure goals are met according to established deadlines.

•             Serve as a point of contact for teams to ensure team actions and performance remain in synergy.

•             Assist with the planning of final presentations and oversee final team reports.

•             Assist in soliciting, recruiting, and selecting research participants and faculty mentors.

•             Oversee and assist with managing Mentor and SME commitments for the summer sprint.


Business Development:

•             Identify and engage partners that could provide beneficial resources.

•             Schedule meetings with partners to engage and solicit ideas and feedback.

•             Assist with preparing materials for partner engagement.

•             Represent the Institute on the FDL Steering Committee to develop budgets and program plans.

•             Evaluate and assess programs’ strengths and recommend necessary improvements.


Manage Partner Relationships:

•             Host weekly project meetings with stakeholders/researchers and mentors to discuss program status and goals.

•             Provide partners with relevant program materials supporting their engagement.

•             Develop and attend partner events and outreach activities.

•             Establish program target goals and track and measure progress.


General Responsibilities:

•             Plan and organize daily team schedule and activities.

•             Schedule speakers and plan and manage logistics.

•             Address questions and issues and assist with team dynamics.


Preferred Qualifications:

•             MS degree in education, science, or computer science, or MBA is highly preferred.

•             5-10 years of team management experience, as well as coaching or teaching experience are preferred.

•             Proven ability to gain buy-in for ideas and influence partners.

•             Excellent problem-solving capabilities and ability to use data to drive strategy and decision making.

•             High level of interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills.

•             Highly collaborative team player and capable of performing in a diverse, multi-cultural environment.

•             Outstanding technical and communication skills are required.

•             Program, project, or product management experience, a strong plus.


General Qualifications:

•             A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in either business, computer science or natural science.

•             Basic experience in business management skills including budgeting, scheduling, progress tracking and team management.

•             Must be solution oriented, able to exercise good judgement, and demonstrate decisiveness while being flexible and open to new ideas.

•             Ability to oversee, track progress, and delegate effectively.

•             Must be a people person, and able to establish and maintain collaborative and positive business relationships across the board.

•             Strong written and verbal communication skills.

Salary/Benefits: The SETI Institute provides competitive salary, excellent benefits including health/dental/vision insurance, a flexible spending account for medical and dependent care, vacation, and sick leave. The Institute sponsors a retirement plan option upon fulfillment of eligibility.

Diversity and Inclusion:

We are determined to make diversity an integral part of the FDL program and to provide every opportunity to Black, Minority and Women students the chance to develop the skills, interest and footing to succeed.

 Application deadline: April 8, 2022.

To apply for this job please visit www.seti.org.